Economic Rise due to The Indian Tribal Gambling
Supervisor Jacob also testified at length about two tribal land acquisitions that had been proposed but not yet approved in her district:
In both of these situations, the impact on residents of adjacent communities— in terms of traffic, crime, and property devaluation— would have been devastating.
[I] t is one thing to respect the sovereignty of existing tribal lands, but another to annex lands simply for the purpose of circumventing local land use and zoning regulations. 67
Many tribes have voluntarily entered into agreements with neighboring local governments to address those types of issues. Howard Dickstein, an attorney representing the Pala Band of Mission Indians in California, explained to the Commission how such agreements can be reconciled with tribal sovereignty:
I think the Pala and other tribes that I represent have determined that in an era when tribes have begun to interact with other non-reservation governments… and clearly have off-reservation impacts because of their on-reservation activities, what sovereignty requires is negotiation with those other governments that represent those non-reservation constituencies and reaching agreements and accommodations that allow those other governments to protect their interests but maintain the tribes’ interests and allow the tribes to protect their interests. 68
Only a limited number of independent studies exist regarding the economic and social impact of Indian gambling. Some have found a mixture of positive and negative results of the impact of gambling on reservations, 69 whereas others have found a positive economic impact for the tribal governments, its members and the surrounding communities. 70 This is an area greatly in need of further research. However, it is clear from the testimony that the Subcommittee received that the revenues from Indian gambling have had a significant¾and generally positive¾impact on a number of reservations.
66 Diane Jacob, Testimony Before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Del Mar, California (July 29, 1998) (Supervisor, County of San Diego, 2 nd District). 67 Ibid. 68 Howard Dickstein, Testimony Before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, Del Mar, California (July 29, 1998) (Attorney Representing the Pala Band of Mission Indians). 69 See General Accounting Office, Tax Policy: A Profile of the Indian Gaming Industry, GAO/ GGD-97-91 (Letter Report, May 5, 1997) (as of December 31, 1996, 184 tribes were operating 281 gaming facilities with reported gaming revenues of about $4.5 billion); Stephen Cornell, Joseph Kalt, Matthew Krepps, and Jonathan Taylor, American Indian Gaming Policy and Its Socioeconomic Effects: A Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (July 31, 1998) (a study of five tribes that found gambling was an “engine for economic growth” and “the number of compulsive gamblers… has grown” but that “head counts of compulsive gamblers… pale in importance beside the demonstrable improvements in social and economic indicators documented for gaming tribes.” At iii-iv); William Bennett Cooper, III, Comment: What is in the Cards for the Future of Indian Gaming? 5 Vill. Sports & Entertainment L. Forum 129 (1998) (discussion of the law and economics of Indian gambling that examines revenue increases, Indian cultural backlash, compulsive gambling, and crime); and Anders, supra note 1 (survey and discussion of a number of positive and negative aspects of Indian gambling). 70 The Connecticut Economy (published by the Department of Economics, University of Connecticut), page 6, (Spring 1997).